Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




Chief Conservation Officer New York, NY

The National Audubon Society (Audubon), an influential and widely trusted $135 million nonprofit, seeks a Chief Conservation Officer (CCO). For more than a century, Audubon has protected birds and the places they and people need. Its legacy is built on science, education, advocacy, and on-the-ground conservation—all brought together through an unparalleled network of more than 450 local chapters, 22 state and regional offices, 34 nature centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and more than 700 staff nationwide. With an ever growing and increasingly diverse membership (currently 1.7 million), Audubon is uniquely positioned to drive positive change locally, nationally, and throughout the Western Hemisphere. The CCO leads a staff of 130 and a team of ten direct reports, including four conservation “strategy leads” (in Climate, Coasts, Water, and Working Lands) as well as the leaders of the Policy, Science, and International Alliances groups. This team collaborates closely with colleagues across Audubon’s four flyways—the paths traveled by birds each spring and fall—where the conservation strategies are implemented.

The CCO position calls for a multi-faceted and creative conservation professional, someone who can recognize and articulate how Audubon’s scientific, policy, and grassroots efforts come together a magnetic and fundable way. In a highly matrixed and distributed organization, the CCO must be an especially strong and flexible collaborator, able to draw upon and help steer the talents of Audubon’s outstanding staff in the field and inspire and mobilize the passions of its vast bipartisan grassroots network. They must bring demonstrated personal and professional commitment to and experience in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion. Skills in team building, delegation, and effective staff management are essential. An understanding of policymaking and sophistication about conservation politics is also important. The CCO must be an enthusiastic fundraiser and compelling spokesperson, prepared to participate actively in Audubon’s $650 million Elevate campaign, while helping to grow membership and attract even more of America’s 46 million bird fans across the political spectrum to its cause.

Although the CCO is expected to be located in Audubon’s DC office, exceptional candidates from other locations will be considered. The position requires considerable travel once the pandemic has abated.

Inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including resumes and 1-3-page letters of interest) should be sent electronically via this website.

Karen Wilcox is leading this search with Chloe Kanas.

Isaacson, Miller is also leading the search for the next Vice President for Climate at Audubon, a role that reports to the Chief Conservation Officer. The searches are being conducted concurrently. 

The National Audubon Society is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion, and equal opportunity. We actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.


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